From Ground to Exosphere
15-Years of The Joint Air Power Competence Centre
‘NATO’s Dedicated Air and Space Warfare Centre’
I am often asked what an Air Power Competence Centre is and what it does? I also have to sometimes explain, in these increasingly resource-constrained times, the value of the JAPCC’s work to the Nations and to the Alliance.
This latest paper, titled ‘From Ground to Exosphere – 15-Years of The Joint Air Power Competence Centre’, not only answers these questions, but also provides an extensive overview of our achievements. While the paper is designed to be a narrative that can be read with ease, it is far more than just a simple snapshot of the JAPCC’s activities over its history to date.
The paper was inspired by the research effort required to inform the latest Periodic Assessment (PA) of the JAPCC, an activity that has now been undertaken twice in the JAPCC’s existence in order for it to remain a NATO accredited Centre of Excellence (COE). The PA covered a seven-year span since the previous one, and it became evident that while the JAPCC had many records of the substantial body of work produced, those records were not consolidated into a single source that was readily available even to JAPCC personnel, let alone external members of the Joint Air and Space power Community of Interest. We have endeavoured to rectify that here.
This paper explains the NATO Military Committee (MC) policy and Allied Command Transformation processes for COEs, and describes what an organization must be capable of doing in order to be accredited by NATO as a Centre of Excellence. A COE has to be able to contribute to one or more of four core or ‘pillar’ activities (e.g., Lessons Learned, Doctrine and Standardization) on behalf of the Alliance. You will see the JAPCC does not just do one type of COE activity, but all of them, across the spectrum of Joint Air and Space Power.
I offer that the enclosed paper serves two important functions. Firstly, it demonstrates, using the JAPCC as the best example, why COEs are now an intrinsic support mechanism for NATO and that without them, the NATO Command Structure, along with the NATO Defence Planning Process and many committees and working groups, would struggle to function. Second, it articulates the very substantial return on what has been a very modest investment by Sponsoring Nations of both human and financial resources into the JAPCC. It makes the case that the JAPCC, and the COE enterprise writ large, are fundamental to the success of NATO and even in a resource-constrained environment must continue to be supported to help the Alliance meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive and contested world.
I offer that Air and Space Power is NATO’s Asymmetric Advantage; it is what our adversaries fear most and as a result, is a major contribution to deterrence. Having access to the best technology is one thing but, NATO’s real edge resides in the capability of its people. The ability to prevail in future conflict will be determined by the intellectual component – the ability to out-think any adversary will be decisive. The ‘home’ of the Intellectual Component for NATO Air and Space Power is the JAPCC – NATO’s dedicated Air and Space Warfare Centre.
Please enjoy this latest offering and feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss any of its contents. An ideal opportunity to meet and discuss would be at this year’s JAPCC Annual Conference where we can discuss your continued support, or dare I hope for, increased support of the JAPCC.
Lieutenant General, GE Air Force
Executive Director, JAPCC